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Exp Neurol. 1999 Jun;157(2):359-65.

alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone inhibits NF-kappaB activation and IkappaBalpha degradation in human glioma cells and in experimental brain inflammation.

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Department of Physiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, Texas, 75235-9040, USA.


The neuropeptide alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) modulates production of proinflammatory cytokines in brain tissue and in peripheral inflammatory cells. Transcription of the genes for these proinflammatory cytokines is regulated by the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB). NF-kappaB is also activated by proinflammatory cytokines. Degradation of the cytoplasmic inhibitor IkappaBalpha protein results in activation of NF-kappaB. Because of increasing evidence that NF-kappaB is involved in brain injury and inflammation and neurodegenerative disease, we examined whether alpha-MSH inhibits activation of NF-kappaB and limits degradation of IkappaBalpha protein induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in human glioma cells (A-172) and in mouse brain. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays of nuclear extracts from A-172 cells and whole mouse brains stimulated with LPS revealed that alpha-MSH does suppress NF-kappaB activation. Western blot analysis demonstrated that alpha-MSH preserved expression of IkappaBalpha protein in vitro (glioma cells) and in vivo (brain tissue). Chloramphenicol acetyltransferase assay indicated that alpha-MSH suppresses NF-kappaB-dependent reporter gene expression induced by LPS in A-172 cells. The findings are consistent with the possibility that the anti-inflammatory action of alpha-MSH in CNS inflammation occurs via modulation of NF-kappaB activation by peptide-induced inhibition of degradation of IkappaBalpha protein.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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